Grief made an unexpected visit to our family last Friday. It was not uninvited, as whenever one brings living joy into their life, you also invite the possibility of grief. But we did not expect it to come so soon.
Thursday night we went to bed as always with the chaos of children followed by quiet. We planned or Friday morning to be normal…but it wasn’t.
After ignoring my 4 alarms and laying in bed, Nick woke me up before 6am with “Something is wrong with Frosty.”
I immediately got up and went downstairs to see the sight he had found. Our little white kitten was laying in the laundry room by the garage door. Her normal gregarious body was barely moving. She responded slightly to my touch and voice, but she seemed weak. Her breathing was a bit labored, but otherwise you would think she was just resting.
Within half an hour I had her to an emergency vet (yes, such places exist and are open 24-7 for the concerned pet parent). Tests and observations led to a final diagnosis: her nervous system was shutting down.
There was no warning. In less than 10 hours she went from playing, to being unable to control her movements. She spent her last minutes in my arms with the children and their dad nearby.
We adopted her in November and never thought she would be with us for only 3 months.
Frosty was – is – our 6 year old son’s (Builder) cat. His 4 year old sister (Princess) claimed her too. But she spent most of her time with me, generally trying to sit on the computer keyboard or on my lap for attention.
And now, instead of a routine day and weekend, our children and family faced an unexpected grief. Builder and Princess both continued to share their observations and thoughts with me throughout the day and weekend. Builder in particular had many questions and comments.
“I didn’t know someone so young could die.”
I let them take it easy, already late for school, Builder stayed home. My plans were replaced with being fully available to address the children’s needs, and sit with my own grief for awhile. I grieved over the loss of a companion for our children. I grieved over the fact that our son was having to process the death of something so young. I grieved that I had not taken tons of pictures. And I grieved over the loss of a life.
With this on the heels of Ash Wednesday and my internal ruminations on Lent, some thoughts which were shared in an earlier post, this death had eerie timing.
From dust, everything came, and to dust, everything will return.
Embrace each moment as an opportunity for love and joy.
And today, I embraced the moment by letting Princess use me as her canvas as she transformed herself into a make-up artist.